Monday, November 7, 2011

100 mugs

When I was in college getting my degree in ceramics I had this idea for my thesis (or final) project. I wanted to make 100 ornate unique bowls, each hand carved, hand painted, and one-of-a-kind. It was inspired by the idea that potters sometimes become mass producers and crank out form after identical form. I wanted to master creating one specific form, but it gave me the chills to think about making the same thing over and over. So I found a happy compromise. In the three months I had to prepare my thesis (along with my full load of classes) I made 70 bowls. Of those about 50 made it into the show. I was very proud of what I did, and I knew that I worked so hard and had truly done my best, but it has always nagged at me that I didn't create the 100.

I graduated in 2004 and didn't make ceramics for awhile.  I worked various jobs, started a craft business called ReLove Projects, and eventually found my way back to clay. I took an evening adult class through The City of Boulder Parks and Recreation, and loved working with clay again. But I was juggling too much with a full time job and raising my young daughter. I was frustrated by how little time I could spend on clay and ended up only making a few things. My time was unfocused, undisciplined, and very scattered.  I think I made a few mugs, perhaps a bowl or two. I definitely wasn't able to put the time into it that I wanted to- or needed to for it to be worthwhile. So I took another break. A few years later I found myself in a totally different place of my life. I was an art teacher and had many pockets of time, my daughter was older and more independent, I had a successful partner who was willing to support my passion and pay for classes. So I took another class and this one was a much better experience. I decided that I would focus on making mugs. Mugs are something that everybody uses, there are so many variations in form, size, handles, and they were small enough that I could make LOTS! And I did! I brought clay home and worked on my kitchen table. I went to as many open studio sessions as I could. Then I took another class and made more mugs. Mugs, mugs, mugs (and a few side projects like an octopus bowl and an owl bank). I would go to work, come home, set up my clay stuff and work into the night. It was rare that my kitchen table didn't have clay on it. I turned my dining room shelf into a dry space. Clay was taking over!

I am lucky to have a very supportive father who loves building things. He noticed the clay taking over the house and built me a studio in the back yard.

And now here I am- I have my studio space where I can get messy and create, I have my love of clay and desire to make things, I have my kiln, but I need some focus, a project to work towards. My idea is to make 100 unique mugs. All 100 will be carved and stamped and hand painted...  I'm still developing it- I need to figure out exactly what supplies I need, how much that will cost, and about how long it will take. Then I will need to figure out how to fund the project. Right now I'm selling the mugs I created in class, and slooooowly paying for necessities for my studio, but I have a long way to go. My ultimate dream is to be able to support myself with pottery, and I think it'll be achievable... Someday. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to move forward?


  1. With your heart and your head... One step ahead of the next...

    That and some traveling cash...